At around 10:30 AM on Saturday August 3rd, 2019, Patrick Crusius, age 21 from a Dallas, Texas suburb 9 hours from El Paso, walked into an El Paso Walmart Supercenter and using a WASR-10 rifle (an AK-47-like assault weapon) with large-capacity magazine, murdered 23 people and wounded 24 more. The victims included three Mexican citizens killed and seven others wounded. Crusius told investigators afterward that he set out to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Less than 14 hours later, 24-year-old Connor Betts murdered nine, including his sister, and injured 27 in a nightclub district of downtown Dayton, Ohio. Betts used an assault-style weapon—a .223 caliber "pistol"—with a 100-round drum magazine. Police responded quickly, and Betts was shot within a minute after he began firing, which means he was able to hit a fresh human target every second or so that he was shooting.

It's quite possible that both these massacres were inspired by a similar shooting the weekend before. 19-year-old Santino William Legan snuck into the Gilroy, California, Garlic Festival and used a WASR-10 rifle with a 75-round drum magazine and five 40-round magazines to murder three, including 6-year-old Stephen Romero, and wound 15 others.

A year later, Adria Renee Gonzales, survivor of the El Paso shooting who led many people in the store to safety, reflected on how the horror affected her and her community.

Reaction: President Trump: “We have to get it stopped. This has been going on for years." and "We've done actually a lot, but perhaps more has to be done." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, cited the influence of social media and video games or mentioned mental health problems. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.): “A lot of folks say that prayers don’t matter. Well, I will disagree with them vehemently."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.): “Why run for Congress if you aren’t prepared to pass laws that make people safer? These shooters, contemplating mass slaughter, take note of their government’s inaction, and they infer this silence as endorsement.”

Jeff Tiedrich tweeted: "#BREAKING: Well-regulated Militia Opens Fire in Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas; Cheap Thoughts and Useless Prayers Now Being Rushed to the Scene ... more on this soon-to-be-forgotten-and-then-repeated story as it develops ..."

"Thoughts and prayers" is the perennial, safe and impotent response. "Now is not the time" is the politician's feckless dodge.

It got me thinking about all the other "now is not the time" times, when many of our fellow Americans suffered the trauma of some of the National Rifle Association's greatest hits (massacres) and the ways our thought leaders should have fought the NRA's propaganda.

Times like...

[1]   As with so many things Donald Trump has said as president, he could not have been more wrong here. The Sutherland Springs massacre was all about guns. In fact, if you scan this page, the account of every massacre on it is ALL about guns.

It may appear that I'm glorifying guns and gun enthusiasts by detailing all the weapons used. I assure you the antithesis is true—see my webpages Why I Don't Own a Gun... and Guns and Violence.  Let me point out a few things about the above accounts:

  • Note how many killers are twenty-something males, and how many of those had psychological problems. And note the number and variety of weapons they brought to the killing zone.
  • I've created a linked reference to every gun used in every massacre listed. A few of those links are to manufacturers' video advertisements showing enthusiasts firing the weaponry. Note how often the advertisers use heavy techno music to match the euphoria of the shooters and their adrenalin rush from shooting.  Imagine a similarly pumped shooter, but one suffering from mental illness, and imagine him shooting in a crowded church or theater or restaurant with that techno music running in his head..
  • The NRA's response after every massacre is to call for more guns in the hands of more people—"good guys". How would that have worked in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, or any of these situations? Imagine yourself in a crowded room, with and without a weapon. Would it make any difference? Or do we need something else, something more, something smarter?